Friday, August 17, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

I've got random thoughts running through my head.  Maybe if I start to write it will form into a story with a theme.  Right now it's just: wine, death, singing, travel, flowers, garbage, art.

I've been thinking about art a lot.  It is in my head almost all the time.  This is a good thing as I can feel my head expanding and shifting with creative ideas.  I see art, design, patterns, creativity, wherever I look.  I saw a quote recently that said something like: being an artist means being able to make others see what you see.  I have been thinking about that and asking myself: what do I see when I look at things?  It makes things seem beautiful, and it keeps away the boredom.  Now I just have to work out how to recreate it on paper and fabric.  I love the idea of my vision wandering around on someone's skirt or jacket.

this is an actual Calder that I came upon in the foyer of a big office building in the city

I have also been working on some stitching and sketching.  Valerie and I had a little art session last Sunday where we painted on fabric with gouache.  It was fun and relaxing.  Paint and pencil are not my favourite medium, but I am trying to get more comfortable just jumping in and making attempts.  I had my Embroidery Guild class two Saturdays ago.  I turned in my notebook with my four completed projects in blackwork, cross stitch, hardanger, and assisi.  I was pretty pleased with all of it until I saw what everyone else had done.  I am humbled and yes, slightly threatened, by the skill, creativity, and commitment of my classmates.

Anyway, we moved on to a new teacher and a new unit.  This time we are doing Pulled and Withdrawn Threadwork.  White thread on white linen for the most part, it is a strain on the eyes but quite beautiful.  I don't know why I thought I was good at embroidery.  I have very little knowledge, and the abstract geometry needed to copy a stitch from a pattern was always one of my mental weaknesses.  When we had to do testing in school, I always scored low on the "flip, rotate, pivot" parts.    I literally almost started crying at one point when I could not work out how to make a stitch and about 3 people said "don't you see? It's easy."  My inner 10 year old almost burst out.  Of course, once I got it, it was very easy.  It feels good to know that I can still learn and maybe change through learning.

one of my favorite buildings

Speaking of changing, the ultimate change, one that is hardest to accept, is death.  I find that the beast of death keeps coming onto the scene.  People are either dying now, or I find that someone I know has had to deal with a tragic death.  I don't know why I am still surprised to find that it is so widespread.  I do feel that I am getting less surprised.  It's not like it is something we can cure or stop.  It happens to everyone, but it never gets easy.

Unless you are on a British murder mystery show.  I actually just saw a Miss Marple called "Murder is Easy."  It made me think of one of the reasons that I find those shows amusing.  People show up strangled or poisoned or stabbed in the neck, and it is rare to get a gasp out of the living, let alone a tear or a scream.  Half the village can be killed off and at the end of the episode, everyone goes on as if nothing had happened.  I find it hilarious.

This brings me to Wine.  I have to confess that my idea of an entertaining, relaxing evening is to clean the kitchen after dinner, pour a glass of wine, and watch at least two hours of British murder mysteries. It is a relatively cheap date, although I have decided to indulge myself in the experience of good Australian wine.  In a way, it is my duty as an Australian resident to know about the kinds of wine this country produces.  Everything here is more expensive than in the States, but I am not going for the very expensive wines.  I am not settling for the cheapest either.  Just spending a little bit more, I have found delightful and delicious wines.  I will do a whole post on specific wines in the future, but for now, I am just noting that, as bad as it sounds, drinking and TV watching are on my agenda*.

Another quick note that I will do a future post about is singing.  Maybe it is just that I am out in public a lot here, but I think Australians are some of the most Singingest people in the world.  I love it and am very close to getting up the nerve to join in with my tone deaf renditions of 70s classics*.

I've been away from the States for 14 months now, and I am witnessing the first repetition of the cycle of blooms with Magnolias, Jasmine, and Wattle. They are little reminders that life goes on, that, as corny as it sounds, within death and garbage and even mediocrity, we can find beauty.  (I am reminded of the Japanese anime film Tekkonkinkreet which is a visually beautiful portrayal of urban decay.)

I will be going to visit friends and family in the Northwest next week, and am looking forward to the visit and the break from work.  I am going to miss my family here and I will miss my next EG lesson which is really going to put me at the bottom of the class.  Hopefully I will have access to the interweb and some art supplies so I can stay connected.  More later…

(*just for Valerie - YOLO)

Saturday, August 11, 2012


No, I don't mean the extra-terrestrial kind, although we are so far away it could be another planet.  It is only that we just went through a really busy social phase.  The girls were both on break from school and Mira came home for a month.  It was nice to have everyone together again.  We also had one of David's colleagues  from Flagstaff for one night, followed by our old friends Fred and Nancy who took a detour from their work trip in Melbourne to come up here and have fun with us for a longish week-end.  We loved having them here and it really filled our tanks with friend fuel.  Thanks mates!

We took them to one of our favorite places: Eathouse Diner

Cheers and Life is pretty, pretty good

We took them to Coogee were Nancy and I had an invigorating plunge! Yes, we did.

Mira had her 18th birthday!   We celebrated as a family on the actual day by going to the Museum of Contemporary Art and having a nice French themed dinner at home.  Then, a week later when all her friends were back from their winter break, she had a literary themed cupcake and cocktail party. (The legal drinking age here is 18).  We were kicked out of the house for the festivities, but when we got home, everything was still in one piece.  Well done Mira.  

the MCA. wouldn't it be great to paint a room at home like this?

salade nicoise, french onion soup, and gifts

David took Mira to the wholesale flower markets and got gorgeous flowers

cocktails were prepared ahead of time to match literary themes

yum and yum
Aww, my baby is an adult!

We've got my nephew Noah scheduled for a Christmas visit, Valerie is going to Singapore to visit her school friend in January, and I am going to the Northwest in a few weeks to see my family and a few friends.  Other than that, we are hoping more F&F decide to brave the long flight and come say g'day.